Annual Survey Highlights E-Tail Challenge in Canada

According to Ernst & Young’s 18th annual survey of retail information technology, 63 per cent of retail executives from large Canadian corporations named e-commerce as a top priority.

“This marks a potential challenge for traditional Canadian retailers, since U.S. retailers are creating sites for Canadian customers,” said Miles Faulkner, senior vice-president, eBusiness Retail Ernst & Young Consulting Services. “A U.S. trend showing an increase will directly affect Canadian sales opportunities.”

Today, 61 per cent of respondents use the Internet for product sales, increasing to 88 per cent for companies with revenues of $5 billion or more. Retailers are also maximizing e-business potential in their business-to-business transactions. Fifty-five per cent use the Internet with suppliers, partners and distributors.

Business-to-business e-commerce was deemed a corporate priority by slightly more than half of all respondents and 75 per cent of the large-company executives name this as a priority.

The survey included 97 IT professionals from all retail segments (apparel and accessory stores, convenience/drug stores, mass merchants/department/discount stores, restaurants, specialty stores and supermarkets) and is representative of various company sizes (with a mean company size of U.S.$1.7 billion in annual revenue).

Sixty-four per cent of the respondents listed retention of top-quality IT professionals as another key strategic issue over the next 12 months.

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